Dubai World Central International Airport, which opened in June 2010 to only cargo flights, handled 89,729 tonnes of freight in 2011. From a monthly standpoint, this translates to 7,477 tonnes of cargo; by comparison, DWC handled approximately one-ninth of this number in its first few months of operation in 2010.
Cargo transit traffic accounted for 37 percent of DWC’s 2011 tonnage, according to a press release. The Middle Eastern airport also saw 8,198 aircraft movements during the year, 55 percent of which were test and training flights. Commercial freight flights and general aviation operations accounted for the rest of aircraft movements — 44 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Charter operations comprised a majority of the 36 airlines that flew to DWC in 2011, according to the press release. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, expects these and other cargo operations to expand as DWC grows.
“Although the airport is in its infancy, incremental cargo traffic growth has been steady and continues to ramp up as new operations are launched,” Griffiths said in a statement. “Sea to airfreight traffic growth was particularly robust as airlines took advantage of the airport’s bonded link to the Jebel Ali Port.”
He also credits the road-feeder service between Dubai International and DWC with boosting airfreight operations. In fact, Griffiths revealed, these airports handled a combined total of 2,279,219 tonnes in 2011, “which is up marginally from 2010,” he stated. “It’s clear Dubai World Central will play a pivotal role in providing the capacity needed to accommodate projected growth,” he added. “In terms of cargo, the need is more immediate. By 2015, cargo volumes will top 3 million tonnes, exceeding the current capacity of Dubai International. We expect a good proportion of that growth to spill over to Dubai World Central.”
Abu Dhabi International Airport also saw considerable cargo growth in 2011. Freight volumes reached 481,500 tonnes last year, a 10 percent, year-over-year, increase, according to a press release. Passenger traffic experienced even more growth during the 12-month period, surging 13.9 percent, year-over-year.
“The double-digit increases of passenger [and] cargo figures are part of a remarkable growth that the airport is experiencing,” according to the press release. “Abu Dhabi Airports Company’s ongoing investment in improving the airport facilities and its comprehensive airline marketing strategy have attracted new airlines and encouraged existing airlines to expand their services to Abu Dhabi.”
Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia and Czech Airlines all launched services to Abu Dhabi airport in 2011. The airport also welcomed routes to Hong Kong; Seychelles; Prague; Male, Maldives; Chengdu; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Aleppo, Syria during the year.